Let’s have a clear direction when it comes to meddling in matters that are legal. Let’s have a clear direction when it comes to our self-centered emotions.
I am from a point of view that some people yes were falsely accused of rape and went to jail. This could be a lack of proper representation or otherwise from their side.
Some people actually did rape but were acquitted by the courts. Where does that leave our public opinion? How does this make us feel? Well, it’s really had to reserve one’s judgment in such cases.
We do have rapists that are well aware that they were acquitted by the courts and that doesn’t make them innocent consciously. This could be a result of a good legal team behind them or other factors such as bribing the weak South African Legal System, better said the weak practitioners within the borders of our legal system.
Being found guilty does not always mean you’ve done the deed… The same goes for being found not guilty does not mean you didn’t do the deed.
In the South African criminal legal system, the State bears the burden of proving “beyond reasonable doubt” that the accused is guilty of a crime. All the accused has to do is create doubt and discredit the State’s case in order to be found not to be guilty of the crime in question.
The Sexual Offences Act defines rape as “Any person who unlawfully and intentionally commits and act of sexual penetration with a complainant without the consent of the complainant is guilty of an offence”. The Act also differentiates between rape and sexual assault which carries a less severe sentence than rape.
This means that the State has to show beyond reasonable doubt that Sjava satisfies all the elements in the definition of rape and more importantly, that Lady Zamar did not consent to it. Given the nature of the crime, it is difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt; there are no witnesses or first-hand evidence at the court’s disposal.
In the current corporate governance climate, more and more companies are under pressure to mitigate their reputational risk. This type of risk has become a worldwide phenomenon where companies are concerned about how the public perceives them. Companies and organizations no longer want to be associated with people or other companies that may bring their image and brand into disrepute.
Legal agreements now contain clauses that guard against such a risk and in severe cases, these are one of the reasons why companies may choose to terminate an agreement. Even if Sjava is not tried by a court of law but the public perception of his guilt may have a devastating impact on the image of any company associated with him.
This is evident in that organizations such as MultiChoice and Cape Town Jazz Festival have distanced themselves from the star even before charges have been formally pressed by Lady Zamar.
You may recall that on the day that reports broke that Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius shot his then-girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Nike already had a team of people removing billboards and associations with Pistorius. This goes to show that public prosecution is real and maybe the only prosecution that cannot be regulated by a court.
That’ll be all for now… in this case, I am fairly asking you to hold your horses! Let’s wait for the legal process to unfold…
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